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How to Drive Clean

Choose the Cleanest New Car for Your Family

Buying a new car is the best way to really make an impact on pollution. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it’s time to hit the dealership:

Buy Cars with the Highest Ratings

Before you hit the lot, compare Greenhouse Gas and Smog Ratings for the vehicles you are considering. The new Fuel Economy and Environment Label gives each car two ratings from 1-10, one for smog emissions and one for greenhouse gas emissions. The higher the Greenhouse Gas Rating the less fuel you'll be burning, the lower your carbon footprint will be and the more money you'll save. The higher the Smog Rating the less you'll be contributing to smog.

Even within the same make and model, Smog and Greenhouse Gas ratings can vary. So with a little homework you can find the best car for your family, save money and make a big difference in your contribution to pollution. Search vehicles >

Explore Advanced Technology Vehicle Options

Car buyers have many more choices these days in vehicle technology. There is now a much larger variety of clean gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, compressed natural gas (CNG) and E85 vehicle models to choose from, making it very easy to find something that fits your lifestyle. Better yet, these new technology vehicles can offer terrific benefits and incentives, and they are part of California's solution to improve air quality, prevent global warming, and increase energy security. Search Advance Technology Vehicles >

Reduce Emissions and Increase Efficiency in Your Current Car

If it's not time to buy a new car, then helping your car be most efficient and drive its cleanest comes down to a few simple steps:

Keep your Car Well Serviced

As vehicle engines deteriorate and wear over time, pollutants can increase, especially if the car is not properly maintained. Get oil changes, and replace spark plugs, timing belts, hoses and filters at proper intervals, and act quickly when your "check engine" light comes on.

Regularly Check Your Tire Pressure

About 38% of vehicles on the road in California today have severely under inflated tires, six pounds under manufacturer's recommendations. As well as seriously reducing the vehicle’s handling capabilities, under inflation can cause irreparable damage, reduce tread life and force the engine to work harder thus increasing the amount of fuel needed. If all drivers in the U.S. kept their tires properly inflated, 2 million gallons of gas could be saved per day.

Adopt an Easier Driving Style

Go easy on the break and gas pedals, and reduce idling time. Studies have shown that these three modifications alone can reduce overall emissions by 10 percent.

Link Your Trips

Cold engine start ups use twice as much fuel and pollute twice as much. That quick one-mile trip to the dry cleaners can pollute up to 70 percent as much as a ten-mile excursion with several stops. Combine short trips into one multipurpose trip with a warm engine and you will save on fuel and pollute less. Trip linking is easy:

  • Keep a running list of errands you need to do
  • Try to match items on your list that are located near each other
  • For example, if your child's school is located near your dry cleaner and post office, three trips could be linked together into one
  • Give yourself enough time and plan ahead
  • Think before you drive:
    • "Do I really need to make this trip?"
    • "How can I combine this errand with another trip I'll be making this week?"

Use Your Car Less

Leaving your car at home just twice a week can cut your greenhouse gas emissions by almost 1,600 pounds a year.

Find Clean Vehicles

Slide arrows to view vehicles by rating. Rating of seven or higher are the cleanest.

Greenhouse Gas

Smog Rating

This document was printed from DriveClean.ca.gov.